Lately, I've found myself pondering the friendships I have in my life.
I have co-workers that are friends but very few know me well. Having worked in five buildings in fifteen years and experienced a five month maternity leave, I have learned that my job is just that. A job. People move on and if you're lucky, you maintain a handful of friendships over the years. I have acquitances at work. I have friends I love hanging out with at school events or even for drinking nights. But truth be told, I spend most of my days with my students. Most high school teachers are autonomous so seeing adults takes effort. And most days, I don't choose to make the effort. All that being said, I DO have friends at work and am not a total loser. I just wouldn't say I have any close confidants in my building.
Then there are college friends. Most are sorority sisters who held my hair after a long night of drinking, brought me pillows in a closet as I cried over a broken heart, helped me study for exams, or sat chatting for hours in the lounge. Endless memories flood my head when I think of these friends. I was pretty selfish in college and I'm not sure what these girls would say I gave to them as a friend. Sadly, few of these friends know the authentic me because of the insecurities I felt in college. I built high walls around me and only let others see what I wanted them to see. But my heart fills with joy when I receive a text message that one or two are meeting for dinner and thinking of me. Or one drives up for my birthday party. Or another is using Alexander's baby items for her firstborn. Despite where we are in life now, we are sisters. And I love them all.
There are newer friends like those I met at leadership camp. I've only been a part of the camp family for five years but these folks are family to me. True service leaders. People who live leadership, strength, confidence, and belief in others. These are the folks I strive to be more like. They inspire me. I love learning from others and this group of folks teach me more in a week than I learn all year at school. The women from camp are hosting the yearly girls weekend this weekend and I'm so sad I won't be able to attend. But in true form, I was instantly informed that I must call for a conference call to feel "Rainier Love".
Finally, there are the constant souls. They are in my family. They are friends from high school days. It would seem that most of these friendships have been in my life the longest but I have created several close friendships in the past few years. They know the authentic me and love me despite of the flaws and insecurity. These are priceless friendships that flow back and forth with a constant give and take that comes easily to all of us. They are the most honest. These friendships require little work and fill my heart with love. These friendships are my lifeline.
But there are also friendships that aren't defined. Like I said, most friendships are by choice. However, some are in my life out of obligation. And, some are in my life simply because they have been there for so long that I don't know how to live life without them. Trying to break the tie hurts. So, I put the friendship aside and reach out to it when I feel the guilt of having not spoken for so long. Yes, these friendships are pretty unhealthy for me. But I can't let go. I'm working on it but it's a process. A process I avoid at all costs.* Thankfully, there are VERY few that fall into this category.
*(If you're a friend reading this right now and you think you fall into this category, you DON'T. Call me if you need to hear the truth behind that statement).